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Friday 27 April, 0830-1000hrs, mostly cloudy, light-fresh W wind, 12C: A morning visit to the Rio Genal below Gaucin. The highlight was 2 Black Stork tucked into the river bank presumably roosting there before carrying on their migration journey north. Other birds included at least 2 Golden Oriole singing, a pair of Little Ringed Plover (see photo), Common Sandpiper, Cattle Egret resting high in a tree (see photo), Little Egret (see photo), Nightingale, Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap and Sardinian Warbler.
Thursday 26 April, mostly sunny, light-fresh W wind, 23C: A morning walk through the cork oak woods to the north of Gaucin didn't produce anything too exciting but the bird song was incredible. At one point there were so many birds singing it was difficult to isolate an individual song! The count was 5 Chaffinch, 6 Iberian Chiffchaff, 6 Bonelli's Warbler and 1 Willow Warbler; also Griffon Vulture, Common Buzzard and Bee-eater. Wingspanner reported 20 Honey Buzzard and several Black Kite coming up from the Rio Genal at 0930hrs. There was a juvenile Peregrine patrolling in front of Sierra Crestellina late afternoon and at 1915hrs there were 38 Black Kite and 2 Honey Buzzard drifting north over the Almuna estate on the Gaucin-Jimena road, plus a couple of Booted Eagle and over the nearby wooded hillside a Goshawk.
Wednesday 25 April, mostly sunny, light W-NW wind, 23C: The first 2 Honey Buzzard of the season were seen at 0915hrs lazily moving up the valley from the south of Gaucin. Interestingly one followed the Genal valley up behind the castle whilst the other took a left turn and headed off to the east of El Hacho.
Tuesday 24 April: 3 Black Kite low over Gaucin village at 1915hrs. Common Cuckoo calling just to the south of Gaucin during the morning.
Monday 23 April: back in Gaucin after being in the UK for my sister's funeral. Clare, who sadly lost her battle against breast cancer, aged 45, was a follower of this blog. I didn't do much birding whilst away but on Sunday 15 April on a 4-mile stretch of the Tarka Trail from Petrockstowe to East Yarde, Devon there were 20 singing Common Chiffchaff and 13 singing Willow Warbler, plus Raven, several Common Pheasant, red-legged Partridge, 2 Common Buzzard, Yellowhammer, Goldcrest, Nuthatch and a pair of Bullfinch. Whilst I was away Tim Birkhead provided the following reports; thanks Tim. 13 April A solitary Jackdaw on the main road by the turn off to Castellar de Frontera. 14 April. At least six Yellow Wagtails (blue-headed) opposite the orange depot on the road past the garden centre just after San Pablo. 15 April: 0934 a solitary Red-billed Chough flew south-east over Gaucin. In the green hills south San Pablo 100+ Black Kite, 1 Montagu’s Harrier, 3 Egyptian Vulture, 3 Melodious Warbler; a group of 70+ White Stork flew north. 16 April: 0830-1000 Track near San Pablo: 1 Egyptian Vulture, 1 Red-rumped Swallow, flock of c100 Goldfinch, Bee-eaters, 1 Montagu’s Harrier, Booted Eagle, Griffon Vultures, c6 Melodious Warbler, Whitethroats, Corn Buntings, Common Buzzard. At Estacion de Gaucin in the afternoon – a single Rock Sparrow by the bridge in amongst the mules; a Sparrowhawk chasing Collared Doves; and a Kingfisher on the river. Sparrowhawk flew over village with prey in evening. 17 April: 0800 One Montagu’s Harrier over El Hacho, Gaucin.
Tuesday 10 April, fresh NW wind, mostly sunny, 20C but feeling cooler in the wind: An afternoon visit to the Barca Moreno area near San Pablo de Buciete produced some good sightings, despite the annoying fresh NW wind. Highlights were an adult Egyptian Vulture, 2 Red Kite, adult male Montagu's Harrier and Melodious Warbler. Also recorded were Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle (pale and intermediate morphs), Short-toed Eagle, Common Kestrel, Woodchat Shrike, European Bee-eater (see photos; pair excavating nest hole and one on telegraph wire),


Corn Bunting (see photo of one struggling to hold onto a wire fence against the wind!),
Linnet (including one cracking male that just escaped being photographed), Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, Zitting Cisticola and Nightingale (heard).

Three Crossbill (2f 1m) in the pines by Gaucin petrol station; 6 Black Kite mid afternoon by El Hacho and 1 Montagu's Harrier there about 1900hrs (per Tim Birkhead).


Monday 09 April, west slope of El Hacho, Gaucin, 1100-1300hrs, light SE wind, 20C: A lovely warm Spring day, a welcome change after last week's unseasonably cold weather! Bird life very Spring-like, too with Nightingale and Cuckoo in full song as well as lots of Stonechat and Sardinian Warbler in display flights. Also seen were a female Common Redstart, male and female/first winter Northern Wheatear (see photos), Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff sp., (though none singing), Blackcap, Serin, Linnet, Woodlark, House Martin, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, 2 Alpine Swift, 80-100 Bee-eater, 20+ Griffon Vulture, 3 Booted Eagle, 8 Black Kite, Common Kestrel and Raven.

Red-rumped Swallow perched on the railings beside El Puente's terrace. Also, a pair of Kingfishers on the river at Estacion de Gaucin (per Tim Birkhead).
Sunday 08 April, 1200-1430hrs, walk from Atajate-Jimera de Libar and back, thin white cloud, light SE wind, 17C: The highlight of the walk, thanks to Janys for spotting this one, was a Dunnock, quite scarce around here; also my first Cuckoo of the year, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Booted Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Jay, Woodlark, Crag Martin and 50-60 Bee-eater. A female Montagu's Harrier passed very low over the east of Gaucin village at 0930hrs.
Saturday 07 April, light SW wind, cloudy am, clearer late pm, 13C: Four black storks heading up the valley below Gaucin from the coast, then gained height and drifted off over Crestellina and out of sight. Three different cuckoos calling in valleys N of Gaucin (between Gaucin and Cortes de la Frontera)and two Goshawks over oak/pine woodland N of Estacion de Gaucin and a pair of crossbills there too (per Tim Birkhead).
Friday 06 April, light NW wind, mostly cloudy, rain showers, 12C: A pair of Mandarin Duck on the river at Jimena de la Frontera; Cuckoo calling (per Tim Birkhead).
Thursday 05 April, Gaucin, light-fresh NW wind, mostly cloudy, light rain, 13C: two White Stork over the village at 1500hrs.
Wednesday 04 April, Los Lances beach, Tarifa; La Janda; Marismas de Barbate, cloudy am, mostly sunny pm, light SW wind, 13-17C: I joined Wingspanner and two of his clients, Steve and Sue, on day 4 of one of his Andalucia 5-day tours. We started with a quick stop at a sand quarry near Castellar de la Frontera to see if the Bee-eaters had arrived back at a large nesting site... they hadn't but we did see a few in the area, plus several Black Kite, Booted Eagle and Griffon Vulture. Stopping at a road bridge near Estacion San Roque we saw about 12 Lesser Kestrel in and around their nest holes.

We then drove on to Los Lances beach near Tarifa where an unusually high tide had changed the habitat a little but still managed to see on the dunes/sea Sanderling, Grey Plover, Yellow-legged Gull, Audouin's Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern and Little Tern; in the fields we saw Short-toed Lark, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Kentish Plover, Barn Swallow, House Sparrow, House Martin, male and female Northern Wheatear, Dunlin, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Collared Dove, Zitting Cisticola, Goldfinch, Serin, Corn Bunting, Linnet, Spotless Starling and Crested Lark.

It was a little windy on the coast so we soon headed off to La Janda, between Tarifa and Vejer de la Frontera, where the sun eventually began to break through the clouds; here we had some good sightings...Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, 5 Short-eared Owl roosting in an olive tree, Spoonbill, Common Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Montagu's Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Black Kite, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Black-winged Kite, Black-crowned Night Heron, Grey Heron, White Stork, Red-legged Partridge, Common Pheasant, Blackcap, Common Magpie (not so common here in southern Spain!), Jackdaw, Raven, several Purple Swamp Hen, Little Grebe, Mallard, Moorhen, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike, Calandra Lark, Nightingale (heard), Great Cormorant, Cetti's Warbler (heard), Sardinian Warbler and Wood Pigeon. We had hoped to see a Spanish Imperial Eagle at La Janda but for the first time in several visits they eluded us!

Finally we moved on to Las Marismas de Barbate, just outside Vejer, where the highlights were Black-winged Stilt (see photo), Little-ringed Plover and Red-rumped Swallow.
Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Glossy Ibis (see photo of bird behind the wire fence),

On our drive back along the coast towards Tarifa Steve spotted four Glossy Ibis in a field beside the road...as that was a strange place for them to be we went back for a closer look and found them to be Bald Ibis (see photo - this one was from the reintroduction programme that has introduced birds from NW Morocco). Further along the road we saw a further 22 in flight.

A great day's birding with 70 species seen and another 2 heard.
Tuesday 03 April, Gaucin, cloudy, light rain showers, 12C: When the clouds finally broke about 1900hrs 3 Montagu's Harrier passed over the village.
Monday 02 April, Gaucin, light SW wind, mostly cloudy, long periods of moderate rainfall, 12C: With a very low cloud base there wasn't much opportunity to see stuff today but from our terrace at 1745hrs I did catch a male Goshawk displaying over the hills just to the south of the village.
Sunday 01 April, Gaucin, light SW wind, mostly cloudy, occasional rain showers, 13C: Looking out of the bedroom window at 0800hrs I heard my first Nightingale in the valley to the south of Gaucin. With the continuing SW wind the migration was again in full flow. A walk along the Rio Genal below Gaucin from 1030-1230hrs produced a flood of sightings - mainly Booted Eagle and Black Kite with the occasional Short-toed Eagle and Common Buzzard mixed in. I gave up counting the Booted Eagles, there were literally hundreds of them pouring up the valley towards Gaucin. Interestingly many birds were also coming in from the South-East (Estepona/Marbella direction) between Sierra Bermeja and Los Reales before 'joining' those that had come from a more southerly direction to head up towards Gaucin. There were also several groups of 10-20 Bee-eater and lots of Barn Swallow and a 'local' Bonelli's Eagle and Goshawk. In the bushes alongside the river there were two or three singing Nightingale along with the usual Cetti's Warblers. Just as I was about to leave a flock of 10 Common Crane made their way gracefully up towards Gaucin castle. Back in the village in the afternoon the onslaught of Booted Eagle and Black Kite continued unabated and there were also an Osprey and 3 Black Stork (1600hrs) plus a distant pair of juv/female Montagu's Harrier.
Saturday 31 March, Gaucin, light SW wind, mostly cloudy, frequent rain showers, 13C: What a difference a change in wind direction makes! After a dearth of migration sightings there was a huge influx today - probably as a result of birds being held up by the bad weather in northern Morocco over the past few days. Highlights were as follows:
1300hrs: 1 juv/female Marsh Harrier
1500hrs: 6 Booted Eagle
1530hrs: 1 juv Osprey, Short-toed Eagle, Sparrowhawk (local), Common Kestrel (local), 20-30 Barn Swallow and one unidentified medium-sized very dark falcon!
1620hrs: 9 Booted Eagle
1640hrs: 18 Black Kite, 6 Booted Eagle
1645hrs: 60 Black Kite, 1 male Marsh Harrier
1700hrs: 1 adult Osprey - very close to the village, heading roughly E-W.
1740hrs: 1 Montagu's Harrier

Bear in mind that I wasn't out watching all afternoon - this is just what I saw each time I ventured outside between the showers!